Christian Bale: from Batman to boxing glory

For British actor Christian Bale, who won best supporting actor Oscar on Sunday, the triumph is the high point of a film career which started more than two decades ago, at the tender age of 13.

The 37-year-old "Batman" star secured the movie world's top accolade for his role as drug-addled trainer Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter," about an Irish-American boxer struggling to emerge from his older brother's shadow.

In keeping with his reputation for intense devotion to roles, Bale - star of 2000's "American Psycho" - shed pounds to play the role of crack addict, Eklund.

But the Welsh-born actor blasted one critic's suggestion that his physical transformation in his movie roles, including this one, was a "gimmick."

"To be honest, I find it laughable that it's considered to be some... gimmick - it's so patronizing. For God's sake, do people not understand what a pain it is to do?" he told the Australian edition of Empire magazine.

"It's as though it's ... 'Oh it's easy for him, because he's done it a bunch of times.' It's not easy, it's not fun - it's horrible," he said.

He added: "It's a part that I like and he's a welterweight and he's a crackhead. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a welterweight with any fat on him - or a crackhead. So it's just what you end up having to do."

Bale, whose step-mother is feminist icon Gloria Steinem, followed his older sister Louise into acting from a young age, appearing first in commercials for products including a Pac-man themed breakfast cereal.

His big-screen break came at the age of only 13, in Steven Spielberg's 1987 World War II epic "Empire of the Sun," playing an English boy struggling under Japanese occupation in Shanghai, China.

Bale continued to garner critical acclaim as he took on more grown up roles, including playing Demetrius in the 1999 film version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The following year he created a sensation as yuppie serial killer Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho" before hitting the box office big time as Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins" in 2005 and "The Dark Knight" three years later.

Bale's nomination for "The Fighter" was his first Oscars nod, although he has won a number of awards, including a Golden Globe for the Dicky Eklund role last month.

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk